The Product-Minded Software Engineer

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“As a young discipline we’ve spent a lot of time working out ‘how’ to build software and that’s a big focus in schools still. But once you have the foundations, you need devs who engage with the ‘why’ actively. Engineers who have a thirst for using technologies to leapfrog human/user problems. Those with empathy to reach for magical experiences. That is what defined a product engineer in my books. Bad product engineers cut too many corners but great ones know that minimum loveable products need the right depth to be considered during the build phase.”

- Jean-Michel Lemieux, CTO at Shopify

The article shares 9 key traits of product-minded software engineers and 6 things software engineers can do to build up a product mindset:

  1. Understand how and why your company is successful
  2. Build a strong relationship with your product manager
  3. Engage in user research, customer support and other activities, where you can learn more about how the product works
  4. Bring well-backed product suggestions to the table
  5. Offer product/engineering tradeoffs for the projects you work on
  6. Ask for frequent feedback from your product manager.

IMHO, adopting this mindset can help all engineers build a deeper understanding of the product we are working on and in turn, help us be better engineers who build better products.

8 min read